UK cyber-security 'champion' announced

Posted by Kate Taylor

A teenage student has been crowned Britain's cyber-security champion, following a competition helpd by government intelligence organization GCHQ.

The competition, open only to non-professionals, was designed to attract new talent into the cybersecurity arena.

"The flow of people we have at the moment is wholly inadequate," said
former security minister Pauline Neville-Jones at the event.

And it's worked: Jonathan Millican, 19, is a first-year computer science student at cambridge University, but says he's never before considered a career in security.

It's taken Millican six months to beat off competition from thousands of entrants. The final stage, designed by HP Labs and Cassidian, involved a simulation in which the 30 finalists had to fight off a 15-minute attack.

Teams also had to advise a small start-up company on how to best protect itself from hackers.

"It is through initiatives such as this that organisations, be they in the public or private sector, can continue to develop and maintain our leading edge in cyberspace by being able to recruit the right people with the right skills," says Jonathan Hoyle, director general for cyber security at GCHQ.

Millican's prize will be a choice of career boosts, said to be worth £100,000 each, and including post-graduate university bursaries, internships and industry training courses. According to the BBC, he's plumped for funding for a masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

GCHQ is already recruiting for next year's challenges; sign up here.